Many people say that health is wealth– and this is because, really, many people do not know how important and crucial their health is until a certain part of their body is suffering– at which point they realize that they took their health for granted. However, just like checking your bank statements to verify where your money is being spent, there are several easy ways that you can keep an eye on your health yourself. If you are really concerned, and there might be something seriously wrong with you, a visit to a hospital or clinic might be necessary, but otherwise, there are a few things that you can do right at home if all you need is a simple check. In fact, you’d be surprised at just what you can find out about yourself with just a few simple tests.
Check Your Temperature
One of the easiest ways to simply check on your general health is to take your own temperature. All you need is a digital thermometer, which can be found at nearly any pharmacy, and place it under your tongue for a few moments until it beeps to get a reading. From there, you have an accurate gauge at how ‘hard’ your body is working– the higher the body temperature, the more energy that the body is using.
This could be due to a variety of reasons, including illness or exercise, and the baseline temperature for the majority of people is around 98.6. Any temperature over or under that number (even by a few tenths of a degree) can be cause for concern. If you’d prefer not to put one in your mouth, they make thermometers for the ears, as well as digital forehead scanners– whatever method you’d prefer, it is important to try and invest in a good thermometer, so that you can get as accurate a reading as possible.
If someone was to ask you what your blood pressure was today, would you be able to even give them a ballpark estimate? While many people do not know exactly what it is, even fewer recognize just how important this metric of bodily function is. High blood pressure, also medically known as hypertension, is one of the leading causes of heart disease– it can be caused from eating lots of salty foods, smoking, or drinking. Additionally, it can also depend on a variety of other internal factors including age, race, family history, and your amount of exercise.
A blood pressure that is too high can lead to many major health problems aside from heart disease. It can also cause heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and can affect the health of the brain as well. A good investment to check blood pressure is a blood pressure cuff– they make electronic ones, which are a bit more expensive, and old-fashioned ones that you blow up yourself by squeezing. In any case, it is important to know that a healthy blood pressure reading is around 120/80– anything higher would be a cause for concern, and a reason to consult with a medical professional.
Checking Your Pulse
Checking your pulse, or heart rate, is a simple test that doesn’t require any special equipment. In fact, it is something that people have been doing much the same way for centuries! It is very important to know your resting heart rate, as those with a higher average resting heart rate tend to be more at risk for heart disease than those with a lower heart rate (this is simply because the heart works more), and heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States of America.
So, how do you check your pulse? All you need to do is take your index and middle finger and place them on your neck by your Adam’s apple. Then, count your heartbeat for a full 60 seconds, and you’re done! Congratulations, you’ve successfully discovered your resting heart rate. The average pulse is somewhere between 70-100 beats per minute, or bpm. If it is lower than that, it means that you are in good shape, and if it is higher, it means you are not. It costs absolutely nothing to check your pulse and get a rough estimate of the health of your heart.
Alternatively, as technology continues its relentless march forward, you can use your smartphone or smartwatch to get a quick read of your pulse. Certain devices, such as Galaxy phones and the iWatch come with a built-in heartbeat sensor that can also monitor stress levels.
How to Measure your Waist
All you need for this is a tape measure, or to look at your pants size. The size of your waist is positively correlated with your weight. To measure it with a tape measure (as, depending on the fit of your pants, it may be the most accurate measure) all you need to do is take the end of the tape measure and bring it around your waist. Tighten it, and you should be able to measure the circumference of the waist. Healthy men are expected to have a waste smaller than 40 in, while women should have a waist lower than 35.
There is no problem with accepting your weight the way it is, but part of accepting it means accepting the fact that being overweight makes you more susceptible for a wide range of health risks.
Check for Lumps
This is extremely important, and should be done regularly throughout your life. If you are a woman, you should be regularly checking your breasts for any lumps. This should be done in front of a mirror, as it can often provide a better view. To do this, all you need to do is work your way from the armpits to the nipple and check for any bruises, lumps, or discoloration– in short, anything that looks like it might not belong there. It can be done in as little as five minutes, but it is extremely important and one of the cornerstones to good health. If you find anything that is unusual, the earlier you catch it before it becomes a problem, the better. If you are a man, it is important to examine the testicles in a similar way. Feel around the sack and put a little pressure on the testes to feel for anything unusual. It may feel awkward, but it is far better to be safe than sorry with such a thing.
How Skin Plays into Health
The sun is something that everyone experiences every single day– at least, we should hope so, but this is not always a good thing. It’s warm, comforting rays can actually make human beings more susceptible to skin cancer. It’s important to put sunscreen on, at least 50 SPF before leaving the house every day. If you want to check your skin at home, you can, but there’s a few simple things that you have to keep in mind. Stand Stand in front of a mirror and examine every part of your body. You might want to have someone there to help you in examining your back– you want to look for warning signs that are known as the “ABCDE” Signs.
A is for asymmetrical shape, B is for irregular borders, C is for abnormal color, D is for diameter, and E is for evolving. If a mole is larger than a pencil in diameter, has a weird color, is not an even circle, or changes appearance over time, you should head over to a dermatologist as soon as possible.
These are just a few of the things that you can do at home to check up on your health. It is important to check your health regularly so that you can catch any strange developments early on– Invest in some equipment like thermometers and blood pressure monitors– they don’t have to break the bank, but they do have to be accurate. This is one way that you can keep an eye on your health, to hopefully catch any problems you might have before it’s too late to do so.